Your Success Story

Success is probably the biggest conundrum of humanity. There must be a million definitions of it out there. Simply because, we are individuals. Each of us is who we are because of the way we think and the decisions we made for ourselves. We have different priorities in life and that vastly influence how we define success. 

I'm putting this on the table because Judy made a comment during dinner today about how a friend of her lamented not having my level of wisdom to insulate materialistic desires. For the expensive cars he bought in Singapore did not bring him the level of happiness as expected. Instead he experienced a sharp decline in marginal utility in each indulgence. If I may humbly respond to that, my opinion is: This has nothing to do with wisdom. 

Let me share with you what went through my mind during 2008, where I spent most of the year unemployed. My starting pay was $1,800 in 2006. I spent around $3000 in 2007 for my first holiday in Perth. By 2008, I had only worked for 2 years. Despite that, I had enough savings to tide me through the entire 2008. My friends were completely mystified how I could go on for months and must have thought I was completely broke. Often, they offered to pay for my Teh-O in the coffee shops. That didn't mean I didn't enjoy my unemployment. On hindsight, I did but it certainly didn't feel that way when I was in the midst of it. Even when the morning walks in the serenity of the PCNs were great, it felt horrible when the thoughts of my friends were in the office, raking in money month after month. How will I ever catch up? It felt that miserable every single day because I felt success slipping away from me inch by inch. The torment of witnessing the Singapore dream like an incision in the finger that never heals, draining from me a drop at a time. /grandfather story.

When I realised I actually enjoy unemployment, I began to wonder what success truly meant to me. At that point, it clicked. Success is personal. There shouldn't be a success framework for the masses. What most of us are chasing is a definition of success accepted by the majority. However, what is accepted by the majority is often untrue, wrong or even unfair. In any case, how the majority defines success is irrelevant to us. Let them have it and you shall seek your own. This is how I define mine: Success is going where we want to go, doing what we want to do. By that definition, many of you may have already achieved success. I congratulate you. For the rest, you may realise you have been barking up the wrong tree all along. Owning a $200,000 car may not be what you really want in life. Living in a high rise apartment may not be what you really want. Or working till 70.

Thus it isn't that I possess the wisdom of cracking the life code. What I want in life may be entirely different from any of you out there. My definition of success is may be vastly different to yours. You may really covet that expensive car that I have no net satisfaction owning. All of us possess the power to choose, to define our own success. By casting aside the expectations that society stamps on us, it is the beginning of our own success story. I wish you well on your journey.

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